What Christian YA Fiction Could Improve On (By Someone Who Has No Clue What On Earth She’s Talking About)

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Some random golf course, taken from an open widow. Man, it was foggy.

Hello world. It’s 11:24 PM, and I should be asleep. But I’m not. Ha!

Rejoice, I’m not smothering you with more of The Ugly Duckling. Though I’d like to. 🙂 Unfortunately though, there’s something called life. And there’s also something called homework. I stayed up til 12 trying to finish it. Let’s just say I’m still muttering the associative property of addition.

I’ve also been reading a lot, which is a little different from the random scrolling on Pinterest I’m used to. And a lot of the reading was mostly Christian YA fiction. Which was great! Just… well..

I just think we could do a little better.

So… uh… oh man, what am I doing? I don’t mean to offend anyone, especially cause we have amazing Christian writers! Please don’t kill me, kay? *breathes in* Well, here goes.

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What we could make better in Christian YA fiction

Don’t assume that because you’re under the label of Christian, what ever you produce is gonna be good.

And this isn’t just books. This is movies (I’m glaring at you, God’s Not Dead 3) and music, and yeah, media in general. If we really are doing everything to the glory of God, we shouldn’t be sloppy with what we write. (Uhh, heh, I’m one to talk, I know..) Poor character arcs, bad plots, and themes that are underemphasized and overemphasized in different places of the story make a bad story. Come on, people you has potential! You can be a whole lot better than this! You better, at least.

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Stop being preachy. Just stop. 

*sighs* I know I opened a can of worms. And I know that this sounds so wrong coming from a pastor’s kid. Well, I’m saying it because this really bugs me in stories. Am I saying you shouldn’t mention faith in a novel? No! That’s just wrong. What I am saying is, don’t have your main character deliver a perfect outline of salvation to some hardened bad guy, reciting Bible verses off the top of their heads, in the King James no less. Unless your MC is a preacher or a evangelist- just, put it where it makes sense for cryin’ out loud! And for goodness’ sake, you can tell if a character’s speech was copied after a tract. You can present the gospel through a charrie’s dialogue without making him so… forced, professional, robotic-y. It just makes the story less interesting.

You want a good example of the gospel wonderfully presented in a way that doesn’t choke? In Search Of Honor, by Donnalyn Hess is so amazing. That’s how you do it!

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Christians make so many mistakes and have so many character flaws. Don’t shape them out to be all perfect and saintly. Even the saints themselves were sinners.

In one book I read, it seemed that almost everyone could recite Bible verses off the top of their heads and talked so eloquently, and had such wonderful Christian fellowship with each other. And that’s nice, that truly is, but so far, nothing has ever made me feel so disconnected reading it. Even if your book’s set in 1860, having people say, “I am receiving an attitude of humbleness gradually and do ask of you-” is the fastest way to making me put the book down. We are sinners saved by grace! We’re proud, we bicker, we do things for us and us along at times! We’re not always so self sacrificing and so up there.

Show me some big character flaws. Show me a Christian who’s struggling with bitterness and has a hard time coming to terms with it. Show me someone who’s having a hard time believing God’s good. Show me an elder of the church having anger problems and desperately trying to curb it. And then show me how God helps them. Because that’s how life is.

Man, that was long.

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Be wary when writing about spiritual topics. Or reading, for that matter. 

By this I mean angels, spirits, the angel devil fight thing going on. As awesome as it is, just be careful? A great deal of that is educated speculation. Especially writing it in dystopian/futuristic novels, that’s a lot of speculation. I don’t mean avoid it entirely. I mean, Chuck Black’s written some awesome books with angels as characters, Adventures In Odyssey’s touched on it with Malachi, and let’s see.. there’s been others. But there have been others that have, well, messed with it. Maybe more than they should have. And I’m saying this from a reader’s perspective, I have no clue how one could make sure the writing of angels is in line with the Bible, but if you could, that would be really nice.

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Huh. That was longer than I thought it would be. I’m sorry it was long and incoherent.

Guys, I don’t mean to be down on Christian YA writers. We guys can praise God through fiction and write amazing stuff. I’ve seen it. But we can be better. I know it. So, uh, if you’re not offended by me yet.. and you’re a writer..

There’s a generation of young Christian readers that need some good books. We’re counting on you.

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